Foxborough, MA - It may only be the preseason, but the New England Patriots have already had their work cut out for them as the 2018 NFL offseason nears its conclusion.
New England found themselves in a seventeen point hole against the Washington Redskins after the team from D.C. kicked a field goal and added two touchdowns for good measure. The two major scores came on passes from quarterback Colt McCoy who found Byron Marshall and Maurice Harris in the end zone, respectively.
However, the Patriots are no strangers to mounting comebacks in games, even if they are as meaningless as preseason openers. (This is especially true for the players as the watchful eye of coach Bill Belichick is motivation enough to perform in these early games.)
In the first drive in the second half of the game, the Patriots marched down the field (and even converted on two fourth down attempts) to feel the glory of a one yard rushing touchdown from new running back acquisition Jeremy Hill. This brought the score to 17-10, in favor of Washington.
New England took the lead on their very next drive when a different running back, Ralph Webb, scored an eight yard rushing touchdown and then caught a two point conversion pass from backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Back to back fumbles from both teams eventually resulted in yet another rushing touchdown and yet another two point conversion from Webb. The Patriots took a 26-17 lead and after Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins botched a fifty-six yard field goal, New England coasted to victory in their first game of preseason football.
The major takeaway from this matchup, for Patriots fans, is that there might be more of a running back by committee format coming to the offense. Many believed that Rex Burkhead would be one of Tom Brady's go to targets in the season with rookie Sony Michel emerging as an explosive threat from the backfield. However, stellar performances from Hill, Webb, and a solid showing from Mike Gillislee to boot have muddied the situation a bit.
The upcoming preseason games will give us (and Belichick) a clearer view about what shape this potent Patriots offense will take when the regular season rolls around.